Report text available as:

  • TXT
  • PDF   (PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip ?
                                                       Calendar No. 654

109th Congress                                                   Report
 2nd Session                     SENATE                         109-357
_______________________________________________________________________



                        POOL AND SPA SAFETY ACT

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 OF THE

           COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION

                                   on

                                S. 3718



                                     

      September 29, 2006.--Ordered to be printed




                   U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE

49-101                      WASHINGTON : 2006












       SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
                       one hundred ninth congress
                             second session

                     TED STEVENS, Alaska, Chairman
                 DANIEL K. INOUYE, Hawaii, Co-Chairman
JOHN McCAIN, Arizona                 JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, West 
CONRAD BURNS, Montana                    Virginia
TRENT LOTT, Mississippi              JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts
KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON, Texas          BYRON L. DORGAN, North Dakota
OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, Maine              BARBARA BOXER, California
GORDON H. SMITH, Oregon              BILL NELSON, Florida
JOHN ENSIGN, Nevada                  MARIA CANTWELL, Washington
GEORGE ALLEN, Virginia               FRANK LAUTENBERG, New Jersey
JOHN E. SUNUNU, New Hampshire        E. BENJAMIN NELSON, Nebraska
JIM DEMINT, South Carolina           MARK PRYOR, Arkansas
DAVID VITTER, Louisiana
                    Lisa Sutherland, Staff Director
                 Christine Kurth, Deputy Staff Director
                    Kenneth Nahigian, Chief Counsel
     Margaret Cummisky, Democratic Staff Director and Chief Counsel
 Samuel Whitehorn, Democratic Deputy Staff Director and General Counsel





















                                                       Calendar No. 654
109th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 2nd Session                                                    109-357

======================================================================



 
                        POOL AND SPA SAFETY ACT

                                _______
                                

               September 29, 2006.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

       Mr. Stevens, from the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
                Transportation, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 3718]

    The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to 
which was referred the bill joint resolution deg. (S. 
3718). To increase the safety of swimming pools and spas by 
requiring the use of proper anti-entrapment drain covers and 
pool and spa drainage systems, by establishing a swimming pool 
safety grant program administered by the Consumer Product 
Safety Commission to encourage States to improve their pool and 
spa safety laws and to educate the public about pool and spa 
safety, and for other purposes, having considered the same, 
reports favorably thereon without amendment deg. 
with amendments deg. with an amendment (in the nature 
of a substitute) and recommends that the bill joint 
resolution deg. (as amended) do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

  The purpose of the Pool and Spa Safety Act, as reported, is 
to improve pool and spa safety through the use of anti-
entrapment drain covers and to encourage State adoption of 
uniform and mandatory swimming pool and spa safety laws 
incorporating several layers of protection.

                          Background and Needs

  I. RECENT POOL AND SPA SAFETY STATISTICS INDICATE A NEED FOR ACTION

  Each year, about 300 children under 5 years old drown in 
swimming pools. \1\ More than 2,000 children under 5 are 
treated every year for submersion injuries. While motor vehicle 
accidents are the leading cause of injury-related deaths for 
children, submersion deaths are second. Between the years 1990 
and 2000, drowning was the second leading cause of 
unintentional death among children in the United States aged 1 
to 19. \2\ Furthermore, in 2002, there were 3,447 unintentional 
drownings in the United States, excluding boating-related 
incidents, an average of 9 drownings a day. \3\ In light of 
these accidents, a complete review of pool and spa safety and 
potential precautionary solutions for reducing related injuries 
and deaths was a prudent subject for committee action.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\ Consumer Product Safety Commission Website, ``How to plan for 
the unexpected,'' www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/359.pdf, Accessed September 
27, 2006.
    \2\ American Academy of Pediatrics, Policy Statement, ``Prevention 
of Drowning in Infants, Children, and Adolescents,'' PEDIATRICS, Vol. 
112, No. 2, August 2003.
    \3\ Centers for Disease Control, ``Water-Related Injuries: Fact 
Sheet,'' www.cdc.gov/ncipc/factsheets/drown.htm, Accessed September 27, 
2006.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

     II. SUBMERSION-RELATED INJURIES AND DEATHS, INCLUDING SUCTION 
  ENTRAPMENT, HAVE BECOME A FOCUS OF INQUIRY BY THE CONSUMER PRODUCT 
                           SAFETY COMMISSION

  Serious bodily injury or death may result if proper safety 
precautions are not followed prior to someone entering a pool 
or spa. Pool or spa entrapment occurs when a person's body, 
limbs, jewelry, clothing, or hair get caught in a pool or spa 
drain or, due to the suction force of the drain (sometimes 
exceeding 400 pounds of pressure), are pulled into the drain 
and involuntarily submerged.
  CPSC officials have indicated that they are aware of 74 cases 
of body entrapment, including 13 deaths between 1990 and 2004. 
These incidents occurred when a person's entire body or 
individual limbs were held against, or sucked into, a pool or 
spa drain. CPSC is also aware of 43 incidents of hair 
entanglement in the drains of pools, spas, and hot tubs between 
1990 and 2004.
  Medical costs stemming from a submersion-related injury are 
high. The CPSC estimates that an injury resulting in brain 
damage can cost $160,000. Some injuries, due to an extended 
hospital stay, can exceed $300,000. \4\ Toddlers between the 
ages of 1 and 3 account for 75 percent of submersion victims. 
This is the case even though most of the victims were thought 
to have been supervised, with 69 percent of the victims 
reportedly not expected to be in or near the pool. \5\ The same 
study showed that 65 percent of injuries ensued from swimming 
in a pool owned by the victim's family.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\ CPSC Website, supra n. 1.
    \5\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
  Time is critical in preventing children from drowning. The 
CPSC has reported that three-quarters of all child victims were 
missing for five minutes or less. Supervision is also 
imperative in preventing submersion-related incidents, but an 
adult's presence around swimming children is only the first 
line of defense. In protecting children from drowning and 
entrapment, State laws, local building codes, and Federal 
guidelines have spawned requirements and recommendations for 
various ``layers of protection'' to be physically added to 
pools and spas as precautionary measures.

 III. S. 3718 SUPPLEMENTS CURRENT VOLUNTARY STANDARDS, STATE AND LOCAL 
    LAWS AND REGULATIONS, AND CPSC GUIDELINES ON POOL AND SPA SAFETY

  Pool and spa safety has traditionally been governed by State 
law and local building codes which regulate the design, 
construction, and maintenance of swimming pools and spas. State 
and local regulations commonly find their origin in voluntary 
standards developed by the pool and spa industry, consumer 
safety groups, standards development organizations, and the 
CPSC. Consumer safety groups have also stressed precautionary 
measures to protect children from drowning, including such 
devices as barrier fencing, anti-entrapment drain covers, 
safety vacuum release systems, and anti-entrapment pool and spa 
designs, including multiple drains, to reduce the suction force 
of outlets.
  The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM 
International), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers 
(ASME), and the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals 
(APSP), have developed standards that address various layers of 
protection intended to prevent submersion injuries and suction 
entrapment. These voluntary standards are primarily intended 
for use by designers, builders, equipment installers, 
manufacturers, and code officials. They are technical in 
nature, but serve as necessary guidance for those in the pool 
and spa industry, State and local government, and consumers. 
New model residential building codes developed by the 
International Code Council (ICC) in conjunction with ASME and 
adopted by various States and localities mandate the use of 
several devices, design standards, and performance standards to 
improve safety.
  Similarly, the CPSC has developed guidelines that address 
pool and spa safety, but are not enforced as mandatory 
standards. For instance, the recently updated ``Guidelines for 
Entrapment Hazards,'' is a document used by many States and 
localities as a model in developing building codes and 
addressing entrapment risks. These guidelines focus on 
implementation of ``layers of protection,'' i.e., devices, 
methods, and other pool products intended to prevent entrapment 
and related injuries. The guidelines recommend certain layers 
of protection like dual main drains, anti-entrapment drain 
covers, and alternative designs such as pools without main 
suction outlets.

                         Summary of Provisions

  S. 3718 would require the CPSC to adopt the current, or 
revised, ASME/American National Standards Institute (ANSI) 
standard on pool and spa drain covers as a consumer product 
safety rule. All new drain covers manufactured, distributed, or 
sold in United States' commerce would be forced to comply with 
the relevant national performance standard, which is intended 
to reduce or eliminate pool and spa entrapment incidents. A 
second aspect of the legislation would authorize a Federal 
grant program designed to encourage States to pass more 
comprehensive pool and spa safety legislation. Finally, the 
bill would authorize funds for the CPSC to conduct a nationwide 
education campaign on pool and spa safety.

                          Legislative History

  On May 3, 2006, the Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs, Product 
Safety, and Insurance held a hearing to examine swimming pool 
and spa safety, focusing on precautionary measures to reduce 
pool and spa hazards, including body and hair entrapment. The 
Subcommittee heard testimony regarding methods for eliminating 
or reducing risks associated with pools and spas and provided a 
forum for increasing consumer awareness of various water-
related hazards.
  Following the hearing, the Pool and Spa Safety Act, S. 3718, 
was introduced by Senator Allen. The bill is cosponsored by 
Senators Stevens, DeWine, Dodd, and Durbin.
  On September 27, 2006, the Committee on Commerce, Science, 
and Transportation considered the bill in an open Executive 
Session. Senators Allen and Pryor offered an amendment in the 
nature of a substitute. The Committee adopted the amendment by 
unanimous consent and unanimously ordered S. 3718 be reported 
with the amendment.

                            Estimated Costs

  In compliance with subsection (a)(3) of paragraph 11 of rule 
XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee states 
that, in its opinion, it is necessary to dispense with the 
requirements of paragraphs (1) and (2) of that subsection in 
order to expedite the business of the Senate.

                      Regulatory Impact Statement

  In accordance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides the 
following evaluation of the regulatory impact of the 
legislation, as reported:

                       NUMBER OF PERSONS COVERED

  Manufacturers, distributors, and retail sellers of pool and 
spa drain covers are the primary persons covered by this bill 
due to the requirement that new drain covers comply with the 
relevant performance standard. The number of citizens covered 
by this bill would depend upon the number of States which 
choose to accept Federal grant funds and pass legislation that 
conforms to the relevant requirements set by this bill and the 
CPSC.

                            ECONOMIC IMPACT

  S. 3718 is not expected to have an adverse impact on the 
Nation's economy. Rather, requiring new pool and spa drain 
covers to comply with the pertinent national performance 
standard should reduce the societal cost stemming from 
significant brain or bodily injuries.

                                PRIVACY

  S. 3718 would have minimal effect, if any, on the privacy 
rights of individuals.

                               PAPERWORK

  The Committee does not anticipate a major increase in 
paperwork burdens for private industry resulting from the 
passage of this legislation. In those areas where the bill 
would require additional paperwork, the burden would rest upon 
the CPSC to submit an annual report describing the efficacy of 
the grant program.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

Section 1. Short title.
  Section 1 sets forth the short title of the bill as the 
``Pool and Spa Safety Act'' and the table of contents.
Section 2. Findings.
  Section 2 cites recent statistics and findings which indicate 
that, of injury-related deaths, drowning is the second leading 
cause of death in children aged 1 to 14 in the United States. 
Preventative measures which can enhance pool and spa safety 
include promoting adult awareness of pool and spa safety and 
supervisory obligations, as well as the use of barriers and 
layers of protection.
Section 3. Federal swimming pool and spa drain cover standard.
  Section 3 would require all new pool and spa drain covers to 
conform to the anti-entrapment specifications of the pertinent 
national performance standard, or any revision of such 
standard. Under this section, drain cover manufacturers may 
only manufacture, distribute, or enter into commerce compliant 
drain covers designed to prevent body, hair, and other types of 
entrapment. Violations of section 3 will be a violation of the 
Consumer Product Safety Act.
Section 4. State swimming pool safety grant program.
  Section 4 would direct the CPSC to administer a grant program 
designed to encourage States to pass comprehensive pool and spa 
safety legislation. A State would be eligible for a Federal 
grant if it passes State legislation that, at a minimum, 
addresses elements set forth by S. 3718, as well as additional 
pool and spa safety requirements that may be delineated by the 
CPSC. A State's population, relative enforcement needs, and 
potential for making the greatest impact on pool and spa safety 
would each be considered in administration of grant funds.
  Grant funds are to be used to hire and train enforcement 
personnel for implementation of State pool and spa safety laws, 
for education programs to prevent drowning and entrapment, and 
for administrative costs associated with the grant program. Ten 
million dollars per year from the years 2008 through 2012 are 
authorized for the foregoing purposes.
Section 5. Minimum State law requirements.
  To be eligible for grant funds, a State must pass legislation 
that requires residential pools and spas to be surrounded by 
fencing or other barriers to entry that prevent or inhibit 
children from gaining unfettered access to the water, equipped 
with anti-entrapment devices, equipped with anti-entrapment 
drain covers, and, for new pool construction, built with 
multiple drains, unblockable drains, or no drains. In addition, 
the CPSC may add additional requirements for State eligibility 
after a 30-day notice and comment period. The CPSC should 
utilize performance standards and published guidelines in 
establishing any additional minimum State law requirements for 
eligibility in the grant program.
Section 6. Education program.
  Section 6 would authorize $5 million per year for the CPSC to 
conduct a nationwide education campaign to promote safe pool 
and spa practices, and to publish relevant safety materials for 
those in the pool and spa industry, including owners and 
operators.
Section 7. Definitions.
  Section 7 would define various terms associated with pools 
and spas used in this legislation.
Section 8. CPSC report.
  Section 8 would require the CPSC to submit a report to 
Congress following each fiscal year in which grants are made. 
The report would evaluate the grant program's efficacy.

                        Changes in Existing Law

  In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing 
Rules of the Senate, the Committee states that the bill as 
reported would make no change to existing law.